Christmas gift ideas: give a pair

A good pairing

We were getting last-minute grocery for dinner at Cold Storage Takashimaya when we saw outside the cashier’s, a stall selling Crescendo flavoured olive oils and aged balsamic vinegars.

The company’s representative in Singapore has stalls like this all over town, but for some reason, we stopped for the first time, for a sampler.

Unlike many temporary stalls at department stores and supermarkets, this one was manned by a very knowledgeable young man called Promoter (seriously, why do they bother with name tags?) who very patiently paired as many combinations of flavoured oils and vinegars for us to try.

We finally settled for a 100ml bottle of truffle-flavoured (not real truffle extract – we’re told the oils are merely flavoured by soaking white truffles in them) extra virgin olive oil and a 100ml bottle of 16 year old balsamic vinegar.

They’re not exactly cheap (ok, I can’t remember how much they were and I can’t find the receipt) – we had some at lunch but treated them as if they were some precious potion of youth – but accompanied by a few drops of each, we had an absolutely gorgeous lunch of poached eggs and spinach and rocket salad with crusty bread this afternoon.

Something else that got our attention was the fact that the company says you can bring your own glass bottles to buy your oils and vinegar. In fact, it’ll be $6-8 cheaper if you do, because that’s what they charge for the glass bottles they sell.

Eco-friendly Christmas vendor, I thought. Until I saw the stack of plastic spoons piling up in a little tray – used by the dozens of people sampling the offerings. Oh well.